Sunday, June 23: “Come and See!”

THE FESTAL ORTHROS GOSPEL

The Reading from the Holy Gospel according to Saint Matthew 28:16-20

At that time, the eleven Disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. And when they saw Him they worshiped Him; but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age.” Amen.

THE EPISTLE

The Reading from the Epistle of St. Paul to the Hebrews 11:33- 12:2

Brethren, all the saints through faith conquered kingdoms, enforced justice, received promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched raging fire, escaped the edge of the sword, won strength out of weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight. Women received their dead by resurrection. Some were tortured, refusing to accept release, so that they might rise again to a better life. Others suffered mocking and scourging, and even chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were tempted, they were killed with the sword; they went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, afflicted, ill-treated—of whom the world was not worthy—wandering over deserts and mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth. And all these, though well attested by their faith, did not receive what was promised, since God had foreseen something better for us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect. Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfection of our faith.

THE GOSPEL

The Reading from the Holy Gospel according to St. Matthew 10:32-33, 37-38; 19:27-30

The Lord said to His disciples, “Everyone who acknowledges Me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father Who is in heaven; but whoever denies Me before men, I also will deny before My Father Who is in heaven. He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who does not take his cross and follow Me is not worthy of Me.” Then Peter said in reply, “Lo, we have left everything and followed Thee. What then shall we have?” Jesus said to them, “Truly, I say to you, in the New World, when the Son of Man shall sit on His glorious throne, you who have followed Me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And every one who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My Name’s sake, will receive a hundredfold, and inherit eternal life. But many that are first will be last, and the last first.”

ORTHROS

RESURRECTIONAL APOLYTIKION

From the heights Thou didst descend, O compassionate One, and Thou didst submit to the threeday burial, that Thou might deliver us from passion; Thou art our life and our Resurrection, O Lord, glory to Thee.

APOLYTIKION OF ALL SAINTS

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.

Thy Church, O Christ God, hath regaled herself in the blood of Thy Martyrs throughout the entire world, as in porphyry and purple. Through them she lifteth her voice crying: Turn with Thy compassion toward Thy people, and grant peace to Thy city, and to our souls the Great Mercy.

RESURRECTIONAL THEOTOKION

Both now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.

The Mystery which was hidden from everlasting and was unknown of the angels, O Theotokos, wast revealed through thee, to those who dwell upon earth. In that God, having become incarnate— in unconfused union—of His own good will accepted the Cross for our sake. Whereby He raised again the first created, and hath saved our souls from death.

AT THE DIVINE LITURGY

RESURRECTIONAL APOLYTIKION

From the heights Thou didst descend, O compassionate One, and Thou didst submit to the threeday burial, that Thou might deliver us from passion; Thou art our life and our Resurrection, O Lord, glory to Thee.

APOLYTIKION OF ALL SAINTS

Thy Church, O Christ God, hath regaled herself in the blood of Thy Martyrs throughout the entire world, as in porphyry and purple. Through them she lifteth her voice crying: Turn with Thy compassion toward Thy people, and grant peace to Thy city, and to our souls the Great Mercy.

THE APOLYTIKON OF THE PROTECTION OF THE MOST HOLY THEOTOKOS

Today the Virgin stands in the midst of the Church, and with choirs of Saints she invisibly prays to God for us. Angels and

Bishops venerate Her, Apostles and prophets rejoice together, since for our sake she prays to the Eternal God!

KONTAKION OF ALL SAINTS

As first-fruits of our nature to the Planter of created things, the world presenteth the God-bearing martyred Saints in off’ring unto Thee, O Lord. Through their earnest entreaties, keep Thy Church in deep peace and divine tranquility, through the pure Theotokos, O Thou Who art greatly merciful.

Profitable Word Stupid, false and deceptive

Saint John of Kronstadt

Sinners won’t achieve remission of their sins unless they first realize with all their heart that these are senseless, destructive and illusory. Just as they committed the sin and found it pleasant and enjoyable, so now they must repent and confess that it was deceptive and leads to perdition. Natural charity is the organ of the gift of healing. Because every divine gift has the opposite and appropriate receptor of the organ as a force or attraction or inclination.

For example, people who cleanse their intellect of every fantasy, receive wisdom. People who have set reason in control of their innate passions, I mean longing and desire, receive knowledge. People who have unshakable certainty, with their intellect and reason, as regards divine matters, receive faith that is capable of anything. And those who have performed natural charity, having completely uprooted their selfishness, receive the gifts of healing.

First Sunday after Pentecost

Whosoever Shall Confess Me Before Men Matthew 10:32-33, 37-38; 19:27-30

From The Explanation of the Gospel of St. Matthew by Blessed Theophylact, Archbishop of Ochrid and Bulgaria

Ch. 10:32-33. Whosoever therefore shall confess in Me before men, him will I confess also before My Father Who is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny Me before men, him will I also deny before My Father Who is in heaven. He exhorts them to bear witness even unto martyrdom. For belief only within one’s soul does not suffice; He desires also the belief confessed with the tongue. He did not say, “Whosoever shall confess Me,” but in me, that is, in My strength. For he who confesses does so aided by the grace which is from above. But as for him who denies, Christ did not say “in Me,” but whosoever shall deny Me, showing that he denies because he does not have the aid from above. Therefore, everyone who confesses that Christ is God will find Christ giving confession of him to the Father, that he is a true servant. But those who deny will hear the words, “I do not know you.”

37. He that loveth father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. Do you see when it is that we must hate our parents and children? When they want us to love them more than Christ. And why should I speak of father, mother, and children? Hear what is even greater than this:

38. And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after Me, is not worthy of Me. Whoever, He says, does not renounce this present life and give himself over to shameful death, for this is what the cross signified to the ancients, is not worthy of Me. But since there are many who are crucified, such as robbers and thieves, He added, and followeth after Me, that is, live according to My laws.

Ch. 19:27. Then answered Peter and said unto Him, Behold, we have forsaken all and followed thee; what shall we have therefore? Even though it seems that Peter had not forsaken very much, as he was poor, understand that in actuality he, too, forsook much. For the fewer possessions we have, the greater the attachment. But Peter also rejected every worldly pleasure, even natural affection for his parents. For these passions war against the poor as well as the rich. What then does the Lord answer?

28. And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed Me, in the regeneration when the Son of Man shall sit on the throne of His glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. Surely, they will not be seated? Of course not, but He indicated by means of a throne the great honor they will enjoy. Will Judas also be seated? No; for Christ said, which have followed Me, that is, “followed Me to the end,” but Judas did not follow to the end. By a different interpretation, God often promises good things to those who are worthy. But if they should change and become unworthy, as Judas did, those good things are denied. Similarly, with more menacing things, He often threatens but does not carry out the threat, because we have repented. By regeneration understand the resurrection of the dead at the Last Judgement.

29. And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for My name’s sake, shall receive a hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life. So that no one would think that what was said applied only to the disciples, Christ broadened the promise to include everyone who does likewise. They will have, instead of family of the flesh, intimacy and brotherhood with God; instead of lands, Paradise; instead of houses of stone, the heavenly Jerusalem; instead of a mother, the venerable mothers in the Church; instead of a father, the priests; instead of a wife, all the faithful women, not in marriage—far from it!—but in affection and spiritual relation and compassionate care for them. The Lord does not bid us simply to separate from our families, but only when they impede our piety. In the same manner, He bids us to despise even our own life and body, but not with the result that we slay ourselves. See how good God is: He not only gives us these good things, but adds to them eternal life. You, then, O reader, hasten to sell your possessions and give to the poor. Possessions are, to the wrathful man, his anger; to the fornicator, his disposition for debauchery; to the resentful, his remembrance of wrongs. Sell these things and give them to the poor demons who are in want of every good thing. Return the passions to the creators of the passions, and then you will have treasure, which is Christ, in your heaven, that is, in your mind which has been exalted above this world. For he who becomes like the heavenly One has heaven within himself.

30. But many that are first shall be last; and the last shall be first. Christ is suggesting here the Jews and the Gentiles. For the Jews, who were first, became last, while the Gentiles, who were last, were put first.